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Sir Walter Ralegh (1554-1618), Soldier, sailor, poet and writer

Sitter in 48 portraits
A poet, explorer, soldier, sailor, courtier and favourite of Elizabeth I, Ralegh was a true 'Renaissance Man'. Much of his literary work is lost, but about thirty short poems and various prose works survive, including The History of the World. He organised and financed a number of expeditions to North America, and in later life made several unsuccessful attempts to find gold in South America. The family home was at Sherborne Castle, in Dorset. Implicated in a plotting against James I, Ralegh spent much of the Kings reign in the Tower. He was executed for treason in 1618.